Category Archives: Construction

The top 9 things to do in San Fran

Living in San Francisco for six months gave me the opportunity to explore one of the country’s most famous cities. Read about my favorite attractions here.

via Top 9 San Francisco Attractions — katherine anne hayes


Neon vs. LED: The Fight of the Century

This is an argument which is becoming increasingly popular in all industries. The main reason for signage in the first place is to draw someone’s attention to your store and to get your brand out there to increase sales. The issue with neon lights is the high failure rate (approximately every 12-18 months), the expensive cost of repair, and the damage to your brand when your customers are greeted by these signs:




Whereas neon once had an almost complete monopoly on illuminating channel letters, LED’s are now dominating the lighting source market. Their overall features of higher brightness, lower electrical costs, increased energy efficiency, and a longer operation life, typically at least 100,000 hours per unit, make them very attractive as lighting fixtures.

In one recent study to demonstrate the benefits of LED over neon lights, the scope of work covered the cost and installation of 10 character 24 inch channel letters. The total savings was approximately $1,000 for the completed job in favor LED over Neon. These savings are the true beauty and profit of an LED system for channel letters.

The image below showcase further benefits of LED over Neon and this is expected to increase as LED technologies become even more sophisticated and more economical over time.

LED JT02 spec

A great scientific article that looks into the Neon vs. LED argument in great detail is Is Your Neon Lit Sign as Inexpensive as an LED Lit Sign? by Greg Honegger. In this research paper, Mr. Honegger does a complete breakdown of the two systems to get the overall value of each. He looks at production costs (labor and materials), energy savings (financial and environmental benefits), failure rates, reliability, frequency and cost of repair and appearance. The data is extremely interesting and clearly points in the favor of LED lighting, and this trend is expected to continue. The cost of raw materials is dropping, people are becoming more environmentally aware, businesses are having to tighten their purse strings even further, and businesses are able to take advantage of the associated rebates, tax credits, and reduced utility bills. Expect to see Neon signs slowly disappear, to be replaced by their LED rivals.

LED vs. Neon Price Comparison

A huge piece of the decision making process for sign selection is obviously the cost. The following chart shows the energy and financial savings associated with LED lighting over neon. Energy savings of 80.3% (per 100 feet of lighting being run for an average of 12 hours per day), a significant reduction in your firm’s Carbon Footprint, better looking stores, as well as adding $240.46 to your bottom line to keep the CFO happy, are all great reasons that support the switch to LED systems.

Energy Comparison Neon typical to LED-VLPlusWhite 150feet (2)

How much would you save by converting from neon to LED signage? Complete your own price comparison here: Power Savings Estimator. Start multiplying this through your network and the savings will be astronomical. For example, a company with 1000 locations, at this rate will save $240,460 per year, that’s almost $1,000,000 every 4 years! This is also a savings of 2,0004,000 kWh, which is a carbon emissions reduction of 1,382 Metric Tons, the equivalent of 3,290,143 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle!

carbon footprint

Perform your very own carbon footprint calculator right here: Emissions calculator

Chris Salva, Director of Networking and Government Services at Royal Services, recently completed a neon to LED sign retrofit project for a national telecommunications company. Here are some photos showing the before and after images of these recent retrofits in a target test market, where a variety of climatic conditions will be experienced to truly compare the reliability of these technologies. I will let you guess which photo was taken after the retrofit!

sprint aftersprint after retrofit

To find out about how your company could benefit from this technology, please reach out to Jamie Leeper at or 913-717-3188.

Royal Services – Service That Solves – Expect The Exceptional

royal logo

Taking Ownership

Recently, I ordered some headbands on Amazon.  As my hairstyle of choice has been ponytail lately, and I occasionally like to be active, I thought some nice headbands to hold my hair back, as well as collect sweat if I’m doing something particularly strenuous, would be a nice item to have.  I read the reviews on Amazon, as I always do, and ended up choosing this particular brand because of the mostly 5 star reviews; the only low star reviews were about how tight they are, and my head isn’t huge, so I thought this would not affect me at all.  Upon receiving them, I realized I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to those negative reviews!  The bands were so tight that they slipped right off the back of my head after wearing them for only a few minutes.  I even tried using clips to keep them in place, but this did not work either.  So I packaged them up to return them, and also left an honest review of my experience on Amazon.  The next day I had an email from the headband company.  I hoped that they were informing me that they had made changes in production, or had a different option I could try, but it was nothing like that.  They said they saw my review on Amazon and my plans to return the headbands and they offered to refund half my money, as well as let me keep the headbands.  They worded it as though they were looking out for me, as Amazon would make me pay shipping for the return and they were here to save me the hassle of returns!  I declined, however, as I knewbuying-stars that Amazon would cover the shipping and I would just end up throwing the bands in the trash if I kept them.  They responded that they would look into offering me a full refund, if only I would “consider the review” I left. I asked them to clarify, and basically, they said they will give me my money back if I will change my review.  What?  That certainly should not be how reviews work.  I purchased these headbands based upon positive reviews; were they all paid for?
I contacted Amazon and they said they would “investigate” as this is against their policies.

This long, drawn-out situation was over HEADBANDS.  The company could not even take ownership of a faulty product as small as a headband.  So what about companies that are hired to do much, much bigger things, like build a house?  Or rollout new display cases over hundreds of stores?  Can you imagine the nightmare you would be in if that company acted like the headband company?  “Sorry we sealed a raccoon into your roof.  We’re going to leave it there, but would you consider giving us a positive review anyway?”   Hiring a company to take on a big project can be a stressful ordeal.  You need to consider quality, cost and time and if you’re like me, you will also pore over online reviews for hours.  The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into a project only to have a mediocre finished project, or worse, a project that is not finished at all.

But mistakes happen; the people working for you are only human, after all.  The important thing is that they take responsibility for any mistakes that are made, take ownership of the originally agreed upon cost of services, and do their very best to make sure you are completely happy at the end of the day.

I’m sure everyone has a story about a project gone bad, either for your home or business.  From projects that take months too long, to end results that are dangerous for the home or business owner, it’s always a gamble when you begin working with a company who you have never worked with before.  Thanks to the wide world of the internet, we are lucky enough to be able to research the heck out of a company before hiring them on.  If you are thinking of hiring a new project management or facility maintenance company, Royal Services actually encourages potential clients to speak with current partners about their experiences.  They are so confident in the work that they do and the high-quality service they provide,  they know you will be impressed with the feedback you receive.   Royal Services has five key pillars that they stand by, the first of which is Ownership.

Assume accountability for completion of all steps and ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning and execution.

As a business owner, you know the risks involved in a big project.  Don’t hire a company who refuses to stand behind their finished product!  Find a company who is with you even after the job is complete, truly standing by everything that they do.

One path to stress relief

Samsung phones have this cool little feature that allows you to measure your stress levels.  From time to time, I check mine and I typically fall right smack dab in the middle, if not on the low side.  I pride myself on my patience (hence the ability to spend my days with two toddler boys) and I am generally an easy-going type of person.  However, my oldest just turned three.  And I feel like living with a three-year-old is equivalent to living with a fourteen-year-old girl. No offense to fourteen-year-old girls; but I used to be one, and I know how that went.  Sometimes I handle the tantrums and “attitude” with ease, thinking to myself “Man, I should teach other people how to be awesome parents!”  But most of the time I feel like this:

Image result for difficult teenage girls funny

Tonight, for example, I decided to measure my stress level just for fun in the middle of a stage five meltdown, and let’s just say it was not low.  But this is my job.  I chose it.  I love it.  I would absolutely not do anything else in the entire world.

What causes your stress levels to increase at work? Maybe you have an irritating coworker who never leaves your office.  Or maybe you just can’t get caught up with that giant pile of paperwork staring you in the face.  If you work in retail, you might be stressed about the heater giving out on the coldest day of the year.  Each of these is a legitimate cause for concern, and while I cannot help too much with the annoying coworker (other than to suggest fake phone calls – that always works), the heater situation falls right into the wheelhouse of Royal Services, specifically their facility maintenance services.  Royal works with your company to make sure everything is up and running as it should be.  They offer  scheduled maintenance to help you avoid surprises as much as possible, but if something does go wrong, they also offer break-fix services to get you back into business as soon as possible.  So when you walk into your store on the coldest day of the year (which also happens to be the day of your huge winter sale), only to find that it is just as cold inside as out, you will only need to make one phone call and Royal will be there.  Rather than spending your time calling around to every heating company in the phone book, you can spend your time setting up your store and getting ready for a busy day of making money and putting smiles on your customers’ faces.

Stress is inevitable; what we do to alleviate it is up to us.  I can’t necessarily call in help during a screaming fit, so I choose to take deep breaths and maybe pour a glass of wine.  But breathing and wine will not fix the heater, so check out how Royal can help remove this bit of stress from your life to leave you with more time for what’s important, and hopefully leave your stress tests looking like they should!

Image result for s health stress test

What is this all about?

In looking over the blog posts included on the Except the Exceptional site, I realized that some might wonder, “What is this blog all about?” The topics range from personal to professional, home-life to work-life, travel and even ethics.  The ultimate goal in all of them is to open the reader’s eyes to new ideas, and hopefully help make some aspect of their life easier/better.  And this “life-improvement” aspect stems from the reason this entire blog was started, and that is Royal Services.  What is Royal Services?  Royal is a lot of things – they are a project management, construction, facility maintenance, rollout champion of a company.  But for people who aren’t “in the biz,” it might be a little difficult to understand.  So please allow me to break it down!  Who knows, you may realize that there are ways Royal can help you that you weren’t even aware of!
1. Project Management and Rollouts – pretend you want to install new granite in your kitchen.  No big deal, right? (Unless you’re on Housegranite
Hunters – then the house BETTER already have that granite). But now pretend you have 100 houses, and they all need new granite and the look needs to be consistent across the board.  This is what Royal does for businesses.  If business X needs new display cases installed in all of their stores, Royal will send experienced people to complete the job in a consistent manner, ensuring that the businesses and their new cases look equally fabulous across the board.

2. Facility Maintenance – uh oh!  It’s the hottest day of the year, you walk into your business and the air conditioner has stopped working.  You can call around to every A/C repair place in the area (all of which are busy, of course) and eventually end up closing for the day, OR you could partner with Royal.  Because in this situation, you could simply make one phone call, and your A/C will be fixed lickety-split, allowing you to keep the store open and continue making the big bucks.

3. Construction – it came to you in a dream: a brand new look for your store.  Beautiful new tile floors, custom built shelving, and brand-new lighting to really highlight your new bigstock-CHICAGO-IL--MARCH-------128179376.jpgproduct line.  When you wake up, your excitement is immediately diminished when you remember that you have a life, and simply do not have the time NOR the money to accomplish such a huge task.  But what if you could do it?  What if you could call one person, who would then work with you to set up all of your projects, saving you the time it would take to call multiple places searching for the best deals, plus getting a great deal at the same time?  That’s what Royal does for their partners in need of construction services.

4. Government – government sites that require compressed or specialty gases at their sites can rely on Royal to provide the highest quality materials that are in compliance with government regulations.  And they don’t stop at gas!  Royal also provides a number of other provisions for government sites, including but not limited to safety products, CCTV equipment and water testing supplies.  Again, always staying up to date with changing regulations and ensuring their partners will be compliant with government standards.

5. RAZOR – this is the system that is used to do pretty much everything.  Nathan Shyver, CFO for Royal, created this CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) in
order to provide a streamlined way to communicate with clients in real time.  Clients can track spending, check work razor-screen-shotprogress, manage maintenance and more, simply by logging into this one place.  RAZOR was designed to work specifically with Royal’s scope of work, as a quick and easy way for clients to stay informed, but also as a place where they can find more in-depth information about their business in regards to their maintenance, construction and project management needs.

So there you have it folks.  While it may not have been clear with all of that fancy, technical jargon I used (like lickety-split), the heart and soul of Royal boils down to helping others succeed, which is why I aim to do the same with this blog in the best way I know how, using the written word.



Every April Fools Day as a child consisted of waking up to my mom and dad yelling, “There’s a firetruck outside!  Come look!  I wonder what’s going on??” And even after this had run its course, and my brothers and I knew that there was not in fact a state of emergency at the neighbor’s house, it was still fun to yell this each year and think back to the years when it actually worked. I’m looking forward to starting this same tradition with my family, although I think I’ll wait a few years as my son is very much into big trucks right now.  If I told him there was a fire truck outside and there wasn’t, I would be in for a rough day!  Traditions are an important part of my family, and as my husband will tell you, I love making new ones!  Even after we have only done something twice, it becomes a tradition in my mind and I begin to look forward to it each year.  However, getting hooked on traditions can have its downside.  For myself, once a tradition has been established in my mind, I feel almost guilty changing it in any way.  It worked so well every other year, so why try to do something different?  But this can obviously lead to boredom and possibly cause everyone involved to miss out on something new and amazing.

This problem can span across many aspects of life; maybe you have been to the same hair stylist for years, and although the rates keep going up and you aren’t loving what she is doing to your hair, you might feel it’s worth it to avoid the hassle of finding someone new.  I’m sure we all know someone who could use a new hairdresser!

trump hair

Or maybe your doctor isn’t giving you the care you need, however starting at square one and getting to know someone new just seems like too much work.  There are so many more examples I could give of the reasons we settle.  And these ruts are not limited to our personal lives either.

On the business side of things, there are clients, service providers, contractors, customers, etc. that keep things moving along the way they should. Depending on the business you are in, you might have dozens of different people to keep up with and when one is slacking, there is a good chance you will not have time to deal with it right away.  This often leads to poor output and loss of revenue.  For example, in one month, a retail store might require their locks changed, their air conditioner serviced, a toilet fixed, a glass door replaced, an LED light repaired and a new display case installed.  That is at least six different people that they will have to contact and arrange their schedule around.  And with that many people in the mix, chances are someone will cancel, or make a mistake and have to schedule a new time to come out and get the job done.  The time spent on all of this scheduling eats into the time the owner could be spending on growing their business!  So what if you could just have one point of contact?  It would mean only one person to handle the scheduling, and one person to get to know you and your business in order to ensure maximum quality is provided.  That is what Royal Services can do for you.  So next time your air conditioner serviceman shows up late, but you don’t want to spend the time finding a new one, check out what Royal Services can do to lighten your workload.

And next time you are looking for a new family tradition, check out this list of ideas for a great new tradition.  And even if they don’t all work out for your family, it will certainly be fun trying them out!  If your family has any great traditions, post them in the comments below!

Everyone’s a winner

Triple bottom line (or otherwise noted as TBL or 3BL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial. Many organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value. This concept is playing an ever increasing role in the business world as more and more companies strive to become #LEED Certified.


The #SPRINT signs below were installed using neon tubing technology for their light source. Neon’s have been around for seventy years and are stable for their artistic value but my opinion is that using a Neon just to fill light inside an opaque sign is a waste and creates a lot of issues especially for the northern states and their temperature fluctuations throughout the year.

Take a look at one of our previous blogs, which pits neon against LED lighting systems. 

1. Neon generates a lot of heat which causes them to have a need to be refilled or recharged with neon gas at least every couple of years.
2. Neon glass signs use 15,000 volts of electricity
3. Neon gas, though an inert gas, operates well within the normal tolerances of temperature but with extreme cold or heat it breaks down the gas presence quicker (thus we are back to issue in #1)
4. Neon generates a “warm” light most used for art deco, small signage applications, etc.,.

+Royal Services, Inc. believes LED will be a better choice for you and your stores:
1. LED lights are sealed and have ZERO hotspots
2. LED lights generate far more light than conventional neon glass tubing so would be a better source for designer signage like SPRINT.
3. LED lights are shockproof and generate very little heat so are best suited for encased light sources for hot (summertime) conditions as well as cold (like now) conditions.
4. LED lights use only 24 volts whereas Neon glass signs uses 15,000 volts which will provide substantial electrical bill savings in the long term.
5. LED lights are generally 10% less expensive than Neon tube signage.

Above are sample before and after photos from a test market. The visual difference is quite remarkable. Contact us today to see how we can help your store to draw in more customers. #projectmanagement #LEDretrofit #royalservices #facilitysolutions #servicethatsolves #royalfamily